Cuchulain vs. Popular Western Heroes
Cuchulain of Murthemine shares many defining aspect with many other ancient hero-like figures in literature. A famous Irish war hero from the epic The Táin Bó Cuailnge, he shares many similar qualities of popular mythical heroes. Examples range from his godlike birth story to his incredible feats of battle. However, he is also is unique in that many of the elements that make him a hero differ from other classical champions such as Hercules or Odysseus. One illustration of this point is that Cuchulain earned his battle talents through a woman warrior goddess, Scáthatch, which is an uncommon element in the popular creation of a male hero. More importantly, his habit of changing personas and his ability to physically transform are what makes Cuchulain of Murthemine a unique example of the mythological hero; nevertheless, he also shares a number of defining characteristics with other timeless champions.
Cuchulain has many attributes that relate to other mythological heroes, which is why the epic The Táin is considered a hero’s journey. Similar to many Greek mythological male champions for example, Cuchulain is extremely strong and battle savvy maing him ideal for war. One of the first warlike feats he accomplishes is when, at a very young age, he defeats the warrior goddess Aife. Even as his weapon is smashed he is able to use his knowledge to defeat her: “All she left him was a part of his sword no bigger than a fist. ‘Look! Oh, look!’ Cuchulain said. ‘Aife’s charioteer and her two horses and the chariot have fallen into the valley! They are all dead!’ Aife looked around and Cuchulain leaped at her…He threw her heavily to the ground and held a naked sword over her” (33). This also illustrates how his strength is comparable to even that of Hercules of Jupiter, as he accomplishes many of his earlier feats when he is younger than a teenager. An additional parallel with common western heroic characters is Cuchulain’s birth...
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